Standard mom stuff: If you’re thinking about suicide, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
So here we are again. I’m back staring at this screen. For a second there, I thought I had written my last entry.
This post is a couple of things, which I’ll get to assuredly. This post is going to be the realist shit that I’m likely to share to a public audience ever again. By the time I’ve hit post here, I’ll still be alive. Thankfully. But I’ll be metaphorically naked in front of all of you. I am baring it all. What it’s not… is a cry for help, a ploy for attention, or an invitation to post a reply such as “I’m always here if you want to talk.”
Does that seem rude? It’s not intended to be. I know it’s what you say when you want to say something but you don’t know what to say. I just want people to know that I’m not the type that typically reaches out in that kind of way. The people who I reach to already know who they are.
I am not posting this for my own good, but in the hope that it helps someone else pull the proverbial panic cord, pump their brakes, call a timeout, or whatever metaphor you find works best. For the people who don’t suffer from some sort of mental illness, maybe it brings better understanding.
Throughout the post, I’m going to reference things that I’ve taken away from the Biodyne model of suicide assessment and prevention. I shouldn’t have to disclaim this, but of course, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a mental health professional. I’m just a person who struggles with her own mental health and who also sees others around her struggle with their own. Beyond that, the people who are left in the wake of disaster, the warm blanket of oblivion ripped rudely off of them in the night. With that said, onward and upward, shall we?
Starting sometime during the week of June 12th, thoughts of suicide started to creep into the forefront of my brain. They’re never far away, always lurking somewhere in shadows, waiting for a chance to seize the day. Waiting for the chance to become the all consuming thing that you can’t avoid, until they succeed in making you another statistic, a hash tag, a sad story. Or you “pump the brakes” and slow down long enough to take a look around.
By the end of last weekend, it was more than a passing thought. It had taken up residence right in front of me. It was all I could see. I had entered what they refer to as Stage 1. This is not unfamiliar territory to me. I’ve been there a number of times, it normally passes pretty quick and I move along, sending a passing email to my therapist saying something like “Hey, this happened, I’m okay but I wanted you to know.” Then we could talk about it at my next session.
Of course, this time, I didn’t do that. I didn’t send any emails. On the outside, I don’t think anyone could see the big black dog named depression that was following me around. Hell, I even went out and danced, something I don’t do, with random Lyft customers turned friends on Saturday night. I had fun. That’s the thing about depression. It’s not all sitting around, sulking and listening to Brand New and The Get Up Kids.
By Tuesday, I had swiftly exited the ideation phase and was actively planning the end of my own life. I started putting together certain documents, keys, passcodes, passwords, blank checks and other things that I knew people would need in the wake of it all. I started on my “note.” What it ended up being, near as makes no difference, was a 4100 word of drivel. A long, sad tale that ranged from my own failings to the perceived failings of others. At times a scathing, no-holds-barred airing of grievances that only one other person has read at this point. I intend to keep it that way.
Throughout my planning, I was even taking smaller details into consideration. Things that a stereotypical suicidal character on a Lifetime made for TV drama wouldn’t. I knew that more than anything, I didn’t want my kids to find me. I know that Grayson can sometimes be anywhere between 2-10 minutes faster than Megan to get inside my house. He doesn’t knock. Additionally, I didn’t want someone like the fire department to have to kick in a door. Someone would have to fix that later, right?
I even made a playlist. I’m not really sure who it was for. I think it was for me than anything. It started as 33 tracks and eventually I whittled it down to about 17. About the perfect length for a mix CD, 73 minutes. Of course, I didn’t have an optical drive in my laptop, and Spotify wasn’t going to let me burn it anyway.. but there it was.
This happened all throughout the course of Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning. The only thing that really kept me out of the third and final phase was that I didn’t have a time frame for when this was all supposed to go down. I had a mental to-do list of the things I needed to accomplish before I could even get to scheduling the end of the end.
Tuesday evening, I went to dinner with Brian. We had wings and beer, as customary with the two of us.. I had been texting with a friend intermittently throughout the day, and as I understood, she was having a shitty afternoon. I invited her to come down and have a beer. She politely declined, as I expected. “Maybe next time,” I replied. It felt hollow, because I wasn’t expecting there to be a next time. A day late friend, I mused to myself.
My short term memory is so bad, I don’t remember what I did Wednesday morning. I know at some point, I went to Home Depot to pick up something I would need. Utility knife blades. Then I went next door to Tumbleweed and had lunch by myself. I ordered my usual burrito and a beer. I sat at the bar alone. Both in physical presence and mentally. The mix of even a really low dose of Klonopin, only a sixth of what my former psychiatry nurse practitioner had prescribed, and the beer apparently was a bad choice.
As soon as I got home, I passed out. When I awoke, later that evening, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go back to sleep. Through out the night, I cried all the tears I had out as I worked on the playlists and the note.
Around 5am, the sun was rising and I felt satisfied with what I had written. I hadn’t eaten dinner the night before and had been living off Coca-Cola and loud music. I got dressed and went to Waffle House by myself. I sat in a dirty booth that no one bothered to wipe down after the previous guests had departed. As I sat in a dirty booth, eating my breakfast, I started beginning to have a moment of clarity. I paid for my half-eaten meal, got back in my car and pulled out onto Bardstown Rd, thinking about all that had happened in the last 36 or so hours. I considered certain contradictions in what I was planning. My jaw and head ached from clenching my teeth throughout the night, having foregone any additional Klonopin to ease the anxiety.
I pulled into the parking lot at Kroger, and went inside to buy some Ibuprofen. I couldn’t seem to locate the bottle at my house. Assuming either we had taken it all, or that it was sitting in a box somewhere in Rhode Island.
As I exited the store, I realized that I hadn’t bought anything to drink to actually take the ibuprofen with. Sitting in my car, with the engine idling and the transmission in park. I considered going back inside to buy a coke. I felt to numb, too out of sorts to even bother. I opened the bottle and took two pills, swallowing them dry.
Then instead of putting the car in drive and heading home, I pulled out my phone. I opened the app that I use to communicate with my doctor and I typed out the following message:
I’m officially pulling the fire alarm. This dizziness, lightheadedness, vertigo thing that I’ve got going on is starting to get out of control.
More importantly, certainly more time critical, is that I’ve passed through stage 2 of the biodyne model of suicidal thoughts. I know there’s nothing worse than having a Graduate of the Google School of Medicine for a patient, but I found this page:
And by my own self-assessment I’m at the completion of stage 2, entering stage 3, but not quite in what they call the “Auto pilot” mode. I considered going to the emergency room, but I haven’t, because well it seemed a little scary.
I’ve backed away from the proverbial ledge, but I’ve been up all night and realized at about 6am that I’ve amassed more than just a note, it’s 4100 words.
I’m safe right now, but I’m going to reach out now, in the interest of full disclosure, for better or worse.
Call, text, write. Love y’all.
Then I went home and went to sleep and waited from a call from them. I was in contact with them throughout the day, as they checked in on me and went over my medications. I should back up a bit and explain..
At the beginning of the month, I had visited because my fatigue was so bad that I couldn’t do anything productive. The doctor came up with a treatment plan, because she advised the combination of drugs he had prescribed had significant risks, including seizures. She tried to do it in such a way that the side effects of withdraw would be minimized, but still told me to stay close and let her know how it was going. Once I was tapered back to a safe dosage, we would reassess my treatment options. That appointment was/is scheduled for the first week of July. However, the side effects had continued to get worse, the more I tapered down on the medication that was being eliminating. Even yesterday, I was still feeling disconnected and kind of dizzy. Like things getting to my brain were being passed through a wah-wah pedal first.
Today is the first day in a long time, that I have a sense of clarity. I’ve got a touch of a headache, but at least I’m not clenching my jaw in an attempt to grind my teeth into a bloody pulp. It’s scary that I could have been a day too hasty in giving up.
The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.
So there it is, my week. Why I’ve not been at work. Why I’ve been acting distant. Why I’ve been a bitch to a couple people, namely my mother. A lot of things. I quoted the verse “Let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and dreamed of glory. You have no control. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” from the Hamilton musical. For today, I’m still at the helm, I still tell my own story. However, I came close to the edge.
I think I now know where the edge is, but as Hunter S. Thompson famously penned, “The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others the living-are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still out there.”